We've written before about the Numismatic Museum of Athens, Greece. Here's a new article with a nice picture of one of the galleries.
While the riddle of the Greek debt dominates conversations, temperatures are rising and the atmosphere on Panepistimiou Street in central Athens is decidedly stuffy.
But here’s a chance to change your mood and take a journey back in time. The year is 1881, when German architect Ernst Ziller built a marvelous residence, known as the Iliou Melathron, for his friend, the archaeologist Heinrich Schliemann.
Inside the restored building which now houses the Numismatic Museum of Athens, you can picture the day when elegantly dressed members of high society would gather on the mansion’s arched terraces to admire floor mosiacs made by Italian artisans and walls covered by murals depicting scenes of life in Pompei. All around the building were elegantly decorated ceilings, including the residence’s master bedrooms -- the private quarters of Schleimann and his spouse, Sophia Engastromenou, 30 years his junior and whose marriage to the German expatriate had been the result of matchmaking.
The building -- which at the time of its construction had cost the formidable sum of 439,650 drachmas -- became a point of reference for the city’s social and cultural life all the way up to the beginning of 20th century. It was sold to the Greek state in 1926 and subsequently housed the Supreme Administrative Court and the Supreme Court.
Every Tuesday at noon, the Numismatic Museum offers history lessons through the prism of money and its myths, but also on the mansion and its celebrated residents.
In the meantime, the museum’s upcoming temporary exhibition, “The Cost of Nutrition,” will focus on the prices of products from antiquity to the present. Afterward, it will travel to the Museum of the History of Cypriot Coinage, which is housed at the Bank of Cyprus in Nicosia, in February next year.
Back in Athens, the Numismatic Museum is also preparing for the display of the so-called Abdera Hoard, a rare collection of ancient coins which were repatriated following a donation by an American collector who had purchased the items in New York in 2000. This exhibition is expected to open in November.
To read the complete article, see:
History and beauty lessons at the Numismatic Museum
Wayne Homren, Editor
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